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How To Find A Great Finance Job Right Out Of College

How To Find A Great Finance Job Right Out Of College

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Jobs in finance are among the world’s most sought-after positions. Finance is popular largely because of the innumerable benefits that it confers on those who take it up: Finance jobs are well-compensated, provide ample room for advancement, and offer workers the chance to accumulate real power and influence.

Of course, these and other benefits make finance a very competitive profession. The number of available jobs in the industry isn’t growing as fast as the applicant pool, and many recent graduates are finding it hard to break into the business. Those who do manage to secure a position right out of university, however, may be handsomely rewarded: As any student of finance knows, scarce resources tend to be more valuable.

If you wish to begin a lucrative finance career but don’t know how or where to look for your first job, follow these tips to learn how to find a great finance job right out of college. While there are no guarantees in life, these methods have proven successful for enterprising graduates in the past.

Speak The Language Of The Industry

University degrees and relevant experience are prerequisites for most jobs in finance, but they aren’t enough to distinguish applicants from one another. To truly stand out, it’s important to be fluent in the language of the financial industry. It’s also useful to have a detailed knowledge of the state of the industry and the late-breaking events that drive it.

Start by regularly reading reputable financial publications that focus on these issues. If you come across a term or concept that’s unfamiliar, use the Internet – or your old finance course textbooks – to explore it in greater detail. During a high-stakes job interview, your ability to speak fluently on a range of topics may be what lands you the position.

Burnish Your Credentials

In addition to above-average grades and recognizable certifications, many higher-paying finance jobs require entry-level applicants to have practical experience in their chosen fields. Working as a clerk at your local retail bank might not count: In this competitive economic environment, rigorous internships with national or international financial firms may be required.

Ideally, you should start gaining practical experience early in your university career. You can apply for internships at companies with branch offices in your area or travel to other cities during break periods to complete short-term assignments.

If you don’t land a job immediately after graduating, apply for more advanced internships that have many of the same requirements as full-time positions. Unless you know exactly what you’d like to do with your career, make sure these assignments cover a variety of sub-fields. If nothing else, you’ll show prospective employers that you’re serious about keeping busy.

Use Local Resources To Find Growing Companies

While most major finance companies engage in annual or semi-annual recruitment drives, some companies hire more voraciously than others. If you’re planning on remaining close to home after graduation, leverage local business journals, and job networks to learn which nearby employers are hiring new graduates. Monitor these firms on different finance job posting sites.

If you’re casting a national or international net, the same general principle applies. Recent finance graduates in competitive markets should have a dozen or more firms on their “watchlists.” It may also pay to investigate which financial sub-fields are experiencing the most rapid job growth in your area.

Develop Your Professional Network

Like your CV, your professional network should always be a work in progress. Many finance graduates start by securing recommendations from their university advisors and internship supervisors. It’s important to lean on these individuals for tips about potential job openings as well. Since many internships lead directly to full-time positions, you must remain in the good graces of the professionals with whom you work. Likewise, take advantage of local branches of professional organizations as well as events like career fairs.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Networking isn’t solely about rubbing shoulders with senior members of the finance community. It also requires you to do some fact-finding on your own. One of the best ways to gather information about potential careers in finance is to engage in informal interviews with individuals in your professional network.

Although finance is quite competitive, many senior employees are happy to give entry-level workers a leg up in the profession. In addition to providing useful information that allows you to allocate your resources more effectively during the job search, informational interviews may even lead to full-time positions.

Breaking into a rewarding finance career can be a challenging process, so it’s important not to become discouraged by temporary setbacks. By following these five tips and taking other commonsense steps to set yourself apart from the pack of job-seekers, you’ll have less trouble finding great finance jobs after graduating.


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John Halliston

John Halliston is a professional development coach and career advice blogger.  You can find more his job interview tips on his blog.